NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Changes are coming again to the roads in downtown Northampton.
Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz said that he has directed public works crews to remove the Main Street project, known as the Northampton Shared Streets and Spaces project, which was in place between the intersections of State Street and Old South Street and Pleasant Street and King Street.
The mayor explained that while his goal was to temporarily create more safe public space downtown to support businesses during the pandemic and he was confident that the effort was starting to have an effect, dozens of business owners expressed opposition to the project and wanted it removed.
Narkewicz added in a statement:
"Since supporting our vital local businesses and economic recovery was the central goal of this project, I have decided to act quickly on the mixed and negative feedback the installation has received from downtown businesses. The debate itself is bad for business, and my love for Northampton far outweighs any desire I have to defend this idea."
To facilitate the removal of the barriers, planters, signs, and taping to that area, a temporary parking ban will be in effect along Main Street, from the intersections of Old South Street and State Street and King Street and Pleasant Street, from 9 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday. Cars parked in that area during the ban will be towed at the owner's expense.
Narkewicz added that he has decided to keep temporary installations that were in place before August 20 in the following areas:
- Lower part of Main Street
- Masonic Street
- Strong Avenue
- Pearl Street
- Market Street
"We have received overwhelming testimony from businesses in these areas that our efforts to support outdoor dining and space in the public way has helped them survive the current economic environment," Narkewicz explained, adding that officials will work with businesses - including those on the upper and middle parts of Main Street - that want to create safer outdoor space.